Monday, June 14, 2010

Hikes, fun, training and more..

One of my most recent interests has been hiking and I've been very regular this year and try to hike every other week.
I like to be the chieftain when it comes to finding a decent hiking trail, following the map, packing a hearty meal. I also like to join different hiking groups and hike with new people. I've learned a lot from "veteran hikers", stuff I wouldn't have known by myself; how to identify a poison ivy, hiking essentials (more than just water), how to purify water from the streams, etc.

I went on a fun-filled hike with a friend. If we knew how this hike would be, we would have called it plain daft. I guess it's fun when u're taken by surprise. So we started hiking pretty late, around noon. Now this was in June, when the sun sets around 8:15 PM. We hiked along more than one trail in Catoctin/Cunnigham State Park near Thurmont, MD. We lost track of time and just wanted to finish the entire loop. It ended up being a 13 mile hike. It poured towards the end. Luckily I carried a poncho for the both of us. We saw some frogs along the way. The rain and overcast made it darker and I was a little freaked out and just wanted to find the way to the car. We finished the hike, and felt like we completed a fete at the end of it!

I trained the summer with some local hikes around VA, WV, and MD. I finished off the season with a hike in Washington to the summit of St. Helens. St. Helens is an active volcanic mountain, which has been dormant after a catastrophic eruption around the 1980s. St. Helens sells hiking passes every summer when the mountain is open to hikers. A good friend who had moved to Washington, mentioned about the hike and I signed up with him and a couple other friends. The hike itself is 9 miles round trip. On the way up there is an elevation gain of 4500 ft in 4.5 mile. This itself makes the hike quite strenuous. There are large boulders, ash and snow patches along the way. The east coast didn't have a lot of hikes with a lot of elevation gain. So I trained in the gym, spent more time on the stair master and upper body workouts. I must say, I was in my best shape and felt stronger. I didn't rest the day before the hike. I camped with some friends at a campground near the trail head and slept only for a couple hours. We started hiking early around 5 AM. It took me about 4 hours to get to the summit. I was the first among all my friends to get there. The view of the crater dome was unreal, and I spent a few minutes immersed in the moment, enjoying the view of the Spirit Lake and the crater dome. On the way down, I returned back with my friend. She was scared of heights and this is not a hike for those who fear altitudes as you are above cloud cover after the first mile. We got lost and didn't see anyone for hours. We finally got back on the trail and glissaded down the snow. As the mountain is covered with snow, it's hard to know which way the trail goes. There are wooden poles along the trail, but we were on the other side of the poles and didn't see anyone, as there were huge boulders. We finished the hike in 10 hours. We were all famished but we really enjoyed the hike. This has been my most memorable hike. We enjoyed good Thai food after the hike.

I'm looking forward to more of these hikes. I would love to hike in a different country outside the US and post my experience.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Runnin' runnin', and runnin' runnin', and runnin' runnin', and running runnin'

I get an adrenaline high after a long run or even after a fast short run. I started training for a marathon this summer ('09). Most of my long runs were on Saturdays and I was almost, always rewarded by good weather.

After going through all the pain and 6 months of training, I finally made it to the finish line. I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of it. There are a lot of beautiful trails which I visited during my weekend runs. Most of them are around DC/MD. Capital Crescent Trail, Mt. Vernon trail, C&O Canal, run around Great Seneca Park, run around Washington DC monuments, Rock Creek trail are a few to name. I also enjoyed my weekday runs and bike rides around my neighborhood in Germantown, MD; along Great Seneca Highway, soccer plex, River Rd. down to Swain's lock on Potomac river, etc.

Running is a great way to explore a new place. I especially enjoyed my run in Statesville, NC where I made a short business trip. I enjoyed my run through the small town and shops. Also enjoyed my run around Atlantic City.

From my personal experience, I have to tell you this; the amount of excitement just before I reached the start line of the Marine Corps Marathon is unmatched by anything I've been through thus far.

So it's that easy; just put on your running shoes, mark a trail on google pedometer, plug-in your ipod and get on the road and explore!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Stand up paddle surfing

I was sailing around Inner Harbor, Baltimore when I saw a guy, standing on his surf board and paddling. I wasn't quite sure until I went home and discovered about this sport!
Stand up paddle (SUP) surfing, also known as Hoe he'e nalu in Hawaiian language is an emerging sport. It has an Hawaiian heritage linked to it and began as a way surfing instructors would manage their groups.
As this sport is gaining more popularity you can find local SUP lessons in your locality and also find stores which sell SUP equipment. So all you need is a Stand up paddle boat, a paddle and a wave to surf; probably not if you are a beginner ;) I'd go with the calm water first. I This is definitely going on my "wishlist".

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Row the crazy boat!

Kayaking and canoeing are great activities for those who are fond of water. There is a plethora of water trails all over the US. I found a great resource of water trails in MD here.
There are different styles of kayaking depending on the challenge level you prefer and the type of water body, like; whitewater kayaking in streams or rivers with faster water current, sea kayaking in seas or coastal area, kayaking in lakes or calm water, surf kayaking which is a great adventure sport for those who would enjoy the thrill of wave-surfing on kayaks. This requires specially designed surf kayaks .
For those who take a back bench when it comes to water sports, can also go canoeing. Canoes are safer since they larger and thus there is no/negligible risk of tipping over. Although, it would be difficult to canoe against stronger water currents as they are heavier than kayaks. Canoes are generally meant for 2 or more people.
You can also do a variety of other things on the canoe like camp, have a romantic brunch, etc. I went canoeing around Theodore Roosevelt Island in Washington D.C. and then went along the monuments in D.C. It is a great sight-seeing water trail and you can also park your canoe near Roosevelt Island and enjoy a nice meal or walk along a small trail. Please feel free to post about your canoeing/kayaking experience in the comments section.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Outdoor Ice Skating New York!

Winter has ended and spring is here. I missed one thing I really wanted to do this winter and that is ice skating.

I came across Rockafeller Ice skating rink and I was amazed by its grandeur. Its right on Rockafeller center, amidst the skyscrapers, in the limelight. The rink is typically open from October and stays open through early April. I went there an evening before Valentine's day and it is, without a doubt, one of the most romantic ice skating rinks. They have packages including engagement packages :) The only downside is that its small and intimate and more expensive as compared to the other ice skating rinks in New York.

Another famous rink is the Wollman rink located in Central Park. Its more affordable and a perfect place for causal skating.
The Bryant park skating rink is another famous location as it offers free admission cost. However, like most winter treats, the ice skating rink at Bryant Park is sadly short-lived. Its open from mid- November to January.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Halloween High Heel Drag Race in DC

Each year on the Tuesday before Halloween, thousands of spectators head to 17th Street, between P and S Streets near Dupont Circle to enjoy Washington's fabulously raucous High Heel Drag Race. This is one of the most wildest and colorful events in Washington DC that I have ever come across.

Around 7 p.m., more than 100 drag queens, dressed in outrageous halloween costumes like Britney Spears, Condoleezza Rice, the Washington Monument and many more, parade up and down 17th Street. The High Heel Race begins at 9 p.m. and lasts for about 15 minutes.

I wonder how I never knew about this until now. I am definitely going this year to enjoy the show. Have you ever come across this before??

You have got to check this out!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Updates for this year's National Cherry Blossom Festival

This year's National Cherry Blossom Festival is from March 29- April 13 2008.

Mark your calender for some special events for 2008:

Tidal basin paddle boats: March 29th- April 13th 9 am to 6 pm. Online reservations for 10am to noon
Fireworks: April 5th 8.30 pm to 9 pm near Southwest Waterfront
Parade: April 12th 10 am to noon on Constitution Ave.
Photo Safari- If you have a penchant for photography and don't mind getting up real early and capturing a glimpse of the sun rays filtering through the blossoms, then this one is for you addicts. You will have professional photographer to guide you, but it all comes with a $$ :)

Please add your event summary after a visit in the comments sections